In a year like the one we are ending, where we have witnessed the unimaginable in so many ways, there are always reminders that, no matter what happens, there is always a bit of light at the end of the tunnel.
That is exactly what happened to Ben Crabbe. On a Sunday morning in early 2013, Ben went out to take a ride on his new bike for the first time. After going to the gym, he then headed to a friend’s house, and on his way there, he stopped by the temporary lights next to an area with road works.
That is the last thing he remembers.
When he woke up, he was underneath a car, and he could see the paramedics around him, reassuring him that a helicopter was on the way, as they cut off his clothes and put him in neck support. Ben was then put to sleep.
His time in hospital after that is still a blur to him. He vaguely remembers his family and friends around, and how he had to wait three days to get his spine fixed in surgery because of his three broken ribs and deflated lung. Even after the surgery, Ben was paralysed from the waist down.
His family and friends were his biggest support. They visited him every day, and Ben remembers that “even though I was tired most of the time and just wanted to sleep, they still let me know they were there for me.”
It was after he came out of hospital that he decided to take the reins of his new life. People around him still went to him all the time to make sure he went out, to give him the push he needed, but Ben didn’t want his family and friends to worry, and wanted to be able to do things on his own.
That is when tennis came to help. Thanks to another person in his same situation, Ben began to play tennis every now and then, and it cheered him up. He was at his lowest, but concentrating on the sport kept his mind off the bad things.
He eventually got back to work six months after the accident, and the motivation of slowly going back to the life he used to have made Ben regain faith and see the bright side of life. He was still finding himself low and wanting to be on his own, but this all changed when he had an idea that would help others in his situation.
Because tennis had been such a big help for him in the months after the accident, Ben decided that he wanted to create something that would allow disabled people to know where they could play sports if they wanted to. Ben had looked up for this app himself and had realised it didn’t exist anywhere, and that is when Perfect Imperfections was born.
Perfect Imperfections was created as an app where sports events for disabled people could be advertised for free, a social app where one could find the nearest play to play tennis, football or basketball, to name a few. It was released earlier this year, but unfortunately Ben has been forced to freeze it at the moment due to lack of funds. Hopefully, people will realise what an important aspect of disabled people’s life sports is, and they will help Ben get the app back and running.
Still, Ben wants to help people in similar situations in any way that he can. Tennis was a massive help for him, and he still remembers how difficult it was after the accident to find purpose again. He wants to show others that there is still the chance of having a good life.
Three years after the accident, Ben has no regrets. He has managed to accomplish so many things, he has helped people, he’s had professional success, he has improved as a tennis player, and “that’s more than I’d ever done when I could stand up.”
You can read about Ben’s story and about other people in similar situations in AfterTrauma.